Missed an entry? Wondering what this is all about? Start at the beginning and follow along as the 5th Whitby Venturer Scouts canoe to Montreal.
The following passages were reproduced from the scrapbooks of Gerry Hicks. They have been transcribed without correction.
To-day is another bright, sunny day but just a little windy.
By 8:00 A.M. breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, jam and tea is finished.
While the boys break camp the leaders get together and plan the day’s trip.
There are lots of decisions to make whether we take the long route via Hayward Long Reach and along Adolphus Reach against the wind to L. [Lake] Ontario, a distance of 24 miles to cut straight across Mohawk Bay and follow the Empire Loyalist Route across country for 17 miles. For this area we do not have a topographical map, just a road map of this area and it makes it difficult to define a proper route.
We finally decide on the inland route for safety sake as well as the time element. Directly across on the other side of Mohawk Bay from our camp is a farmhouse. Everyone makes a bee line for this farmhouse.
Again we are off against white caps & strong winds. We have to back-track west a little bit against the wind for approx. 3 miles towards Forrester Island in order to hit our target. Had we not done this, the wind would have been directly on our right side and blown us 10 miles off course, up the Napanee River. We landed exactly on our pre-picked target.
All our goods carried in the canoes were securely bound to either the middle thwart or shoved up inside stern or bow so as we would not lose them in the event of a capsize.
We proceeded up a small knoll to a side road known as road #9.
We decide to portage to Hare Island on Hay Bay. It is now quite hot and we head East to a cross-road that leads to Hare Is.
At the cross-road some 4 miles away we run into JOHN BRADY who is driving the car to-day.
We inform him to go back and pick up stragglers and we will continue on. We have just stopped to talk to a farmer who is repairing a shed and he informs us that we are still 20 miles from the shore of Lake Ontario. After a little fast talk we convinced him that he should carry our canoes on his truck and transport us straight across the island to Sandhurst.
We arrived at Sandhurst at a point on the junction of Highway 33 and a side road.
For the bother we had put the farmer to, we reimbursed him with some gas money.
The water on the lake was hitting the shore-line very heavily and was a beautiful greenish-blue in color and quite cool.
To date, we have only received a single case of sea sickness, namely Corny Dirks.
While getting ready to launch our canoes most of us got a little wet as it was hard to hold the canoes steady due to the large waves. Paddling along the lake we stuck closer to the shore than usual but trying at the same time to maintain a straight course.
Part of the shore-line was very shallow so while paddling in these spots we had to move further out.
Most of us have been canoeing for many years but to-day I myself, and some of the other boys as well as all the rest of the leaders found out that to-day is the best yet, the waves are enormous and we use the canoes like surf boards and making excellent time.
The canoes are spread out a little more now and sometimes you see just 2 boys sitting on top of the water with no canoe and then you look up and they are up in the air. They really enjoy this, but I wonder how many cases of sea sickness we are going to have on our hands since the rolls are continuous.
Now were are approaching Amherst Island which offers a slight shelter due to its large size. As we pass by Bath, Ontario, a small town located on shores of L. [Lake] Ontario, people are waving and cheering. They are also stopping their cars and observing and blowing their horns. To the right side of Amherst Island is Wolfe Island and we are nearing Kingston now.
It is a real effort to keep the canoes on course. We can now see Collins Bay Penitentiary on our left side and the sky line of Kingston. We are making fairly good time and everything is going by very fast. The rest of the scenery is lovely and the water is now much warmer as is the weather.
Our destination tonight is Kingston. It is doubtful as to whether we will make it.
The last stretch by water from Collins Bay Pen. To the park in Kingston is a rough one. We are, at this time approximately ½ to ¾ hr. away from our designated camp.
There are numerous boulders protruding out of the water so this makes travelling closer to shore a little difficult. As well as this, the wind is coming straight across the lake. Two canoes have just been observed headed for a small bay and Peter Bedard and Gerald Lynch are heading to find out the trouble. As they are attempting to turn their canoe, a huge wave took hold of them and all that could be seen was arms and legs. Their canoe was being thrown up onto shore and they were swimming after it.
Peter suffered a cut on his knee. The first to be swamped was Tim Van Gils & Corny Dirks followed by John Gauthier and Errol Keoghan. Then Vidas Viaciunas and old faithful (myself) ranked third. Next came John Bedard and Gord Woodcock; Hank Wyst and Steve Baxter and Guy LeHaye and Benny; - in that order.
This was the first time any or all of us got swamped. But, this is part of the trip. Within 5 minutes of the overturns we were all regrouped on shore. Then we pursued our paddles etc. which were close to shore.
We were all wet and cold but happy. By the time we got everything together approx.. 1 ½ hrs. had elapsed.
A gentleman, by the name of Mr. Walker who has a house located on the lake front not too far from our capsizes, came to our aid and invited us to his house to dry off. He even outfitted all of us with temporary clothing while his wife was kept busy drying our clothing.
He served us hot coffee and cake and we watched T.V. He later drove us through Kingston, showing us various highlights of the city, then took us tour camp, which was Lake Ontario Provincial Park located across from the grain elevators and about 2 miles from where we went aground. This was the best camp site so far as it was equipped with all available facilities. There was even a dance floor. Most everyone else attended the dance except Danny Gravelle who was sea sick. We tried him on dry toast but ended up getting him medicine.
There was no real supper tonight as everyone had been filling up at the snack bar.
Conclusion: Today has been a real trying day. In fact it was our most trying day thus far. The boys are growing up fast and their behavior is excellent. We, the leaders have nothing but praise for them and this makes us all very proud leaders.
Images: Paddling somewhere in Lake Ontario; "Susie" in Lake Ontario near Kingston.